My writing mentor, Leona Choy, advised me once to be careful what I publish in times of trial. “Yes, write!” She said. But she warned me to be careful what I publish. When we are in trials our vision gets skewed. She advised me to wait until it passes. When the wounds, fears and anxieties are not so fresh look back to see how God was working. I can write about this trial because it’s not “raw” now.
For those of you who don’t know me well, I have been ill with varying degrees of pain since August. It was not until October that we had a diagnosis that the problems I was suffering were gall bladder related. In the midst of August and September walking in the unknown, there were a few scary ideas thrown out by doctors. My least favorite was “a possible growth in your abdomen.”
I went back and looked at some of things I wrote in my prayer journal at the time. Here is a glimpse…
Lord I pray for my own health. That whatever this is, that it’s not too scary. No matter what, Lord, I trust you and know that you will bless me and this family. Thank you even for the pain I have been in.
September 8th, 2011
Lord, you are gracious and good. You are my king. You make my life a song of JOY even in the midst of trial! You send your angels to surround me. You are my protector and strong tower. In this world of pain and brokenness I pray that you and your glory be revealed, that none could deny the name of Jesus. Lord you are the vine- let me remain in you and you in me. Don’t leave me, Jesus, hold on to me and never let go. Your will be done. You know my heart, but your will be done. My Lord’s promise is Romans 8:28.
Honestly, I do not remember writing these words. But, I do remember this incident:
One day whenI was in a lot of pain Grace asked “Mama, are you ok?”
“No, Mama’s tummy hurts.” I said.
“Oh, wait,” she said, “Let me go get an angel to fix you!” She walked away and came back a moment later with an angel figurine. She placed the angel’s face to my belly and made a kissing sound, then looked up at me and smiled. “You’re ok now.” She said, and walked away with the angel.
|The Angel Gracie brought to “fix” me.
Willow Tree Collection:
Angel of Grace
In that moment everything shifted. I can’t say that I had a miraculous physical healing, although somehow I did feel physically better. But, there was something the Lord gave me in that moment. Some kind of supernatural power swept over me. In spite of my pain and discomfort, even worry, I experienced a deep trust, an indescribable joy, an intense love for my God, and thanksgiving for how he overwhelmingly blessed me. After that moment with Gracie I wrote this in my prayer journal:
Daniel 3:29 “For no other God can save in this way!” Lord, You overwhelm me with your compassion and love. You gird me in your truth and give me confidence from your word, from those who know you- my husband and my friends, who speak your loving truth to me. LORD I PRAISE YOU! Lord, You bless me! And I thank you for it, and I praise your GLORIOUS name! The name of the Lord is a strong tower. Thank you Lord that I feel much better. Thank you for all the people praying for me. Thank you for a loving husband and a daughter with a sweet disposition. Lord, give me strength as I move through this next season with my health.
Shortly hereafter we got the gall bladder diagnosis. Though the pain persists, the knowing helped relieve much anxiety!
This was an interesting time in my walk with the Lord. It is not something I fully understand. I can say with earnestness that I simultaneously felt worry for my health and an overwhelming sense of trust in God with an indescribable peace. It was also a time of incredible productivity when I had little physical strength. The whole time was like walking through a surreal sort-of fog. Even in the two moments when I fell into tears— once in the embrace of my husband, and once in the embrace of my best friend, Tamara— there was this dual state of my heart and mind. Worry, but trust. Anxiety, but peace. Weird. How can that be?
Isaiah 26:3-4 says: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord is everlasting strength.”
As I look back, I believe the moment with Gracie and the angel was the Lord confirming my prayer on September 8th. I noticed when I went back and read my journal that I did not ask the Lord to send angels to surround me—I had stated with faith that they were already there. The moment Gracie brought her angel to “fix” me, and whatever supernatural exchange happened then, was that faith and trust confirmed. The thought of it nearly overwhelms me.
I wish I could say I go through every trial, illness or struggle like this one. I don’t. If I kept statistics I probably fail a lot more than I succeed in grabbing hold of God through a trial. I suspect this one may be different because of its duration and intensity. My friend Ruth sent me a great quote in the midst of this time. She did not know what it would mean to me or how I would apply it. But, I use it often now to help me get better about “going to God” in times of trouble.
The quote was this: “When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel.”
Psalm 63:8 says “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (ESV) I think this was where my desperate heart was in August and September. But I have made a significant revelation as I look back. I was leaning into Him in my time of trial… but shouldn’t I be leaning into him regardless? In trial or peace, in health or infirmity, in laughter or in tears, in feast or in famine— This ought to be where my heart is all the time… clinging to the Lord.
I guess it is best summed up by the verse from the book of Daniel. As I was looking back at my prayer journal, I saw I was struck most deeply by the verse: “Because no other God can save this way.” (Daniel 3:29).
I’ve come to realize that I need saving every day… not just on the ones that seem overwhelming. Every day, even on the good days, I still need the Lord’s salvation from sin, sufferings, burdens, anxiety, failures… the list is endless. Why? Because the world is broken and we are broken right along with it! We need someone to rescue us from this brokenness— And no other God can save this way!
My prayer for you:
I pray your soul so deeply loves and relies on the Lord that you cling to Him every day. I pray you trust that He upholds you with his right hand, and that His angels surround you, protect you, and are always on guard to “fix” you when you are in need…
We need Him, and Him alone… because “No other God can save this way!”